God gave Moses the blueprints. “Make an ark of acacia wood, forty-five inches long, twenty-seven inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. Overlay it with pure gold; overlay it both inside and out. Also make a gold molding all around it. Cast four gold rings for it and place them on its four feet, two rings on one side and two rings on the other side. Make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark in order to carry the ark with them. The poles are to remain in the rings of the ark; they must not be removed from it” (Exodus 25:10–15).
Reverently placed behind the veil in the tabernacle, covered by the mercy seat, the ark of the covenant was the place where the glory of God rested. God promised, “I will meet with you there above the mercy seat, between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the testimony; I will speak with you from there about all that I command you regarding the Israelites” (Exodus 25:10–15).
When the wilderness-wandering Israelites moved from one campsite to another, the ark of the covenant was carried by four Levitical Priests consecrated for that holy duty. The gold-covered poles were always attached to the ark so that no hands ever touched the ark.
That’s a little bit of the back-story. Here’s the story for today...
David, the newly inaugurated king, built a palace in Jerusalem and then determined to move the tabernacle into his backyard. David must have planned the grand parade. I can imagine David mounted on a beautiful stallion, followed by “thirty thousand” (2 Samuel 6:1) of his best and brightest military men.
“The ark bears the Name, the name of the Lord of Armies who is enthroned between the cherubim. They set the ark of God on a new cart and transported it from Abinadab’s house, which was on the hill” (2 Samuel 6:2–3).
Oops! Did you catch that? Instead of having four Levitical Priest carry the Ark of the Covenant as God had prescribed, David had a new cart built for the occasion. They loaded the Ark onto the cart and it joined the parade. When the cart hit a bump, a faithful servant named Uzzah reached out to steady the Ark. “Then the Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and God struck him dead on the spot for his irreverence, and he died there next to the ark of God” (2 Samuel 6:7).
Who cares how the Ark is carried? Who cares if it is loaded onto a cart or carried by four priests? God cares! God said, “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). “God has not called us to impurity but to live in holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:7.) “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises, of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). “You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be mine” (Leviticus 20:26).
Obedience matters. “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
All Scripture quotation, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.